Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Bobby Gill
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Introducing Bobby Gill
Bobby Gill is today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots Podcast interview.
He is a man who since 2001 has had a fascination with coding and technology
Starting work as a QA Engineer for a company, which he quite readily admits that “I cant find the right words that could do any justice to my time here. 5 – 10 lines of blank text should more than suffice.”
He then moved steadily though a series of positions that filled his days with programming, and more than a bit of messing around.
One company paid him, whilst Bobby joined a gang of eager programmers and developers to work on a slime basketball game….ok they didn’t know they were paying him to do this, but hey more fool them, they should have managed a little bit closer I think.
But when Microsoft took a chance on him, then things started getting serious, and he realised that the time of playing was coming to an end.
How The Dots Joined Up For Bobby
Whizz forward a few years, and Bobby Gill is now the founder of Blue Label Labs, a New York based mobile design and development lab for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
So how has he done this?
How did he take the leap of faith that allowed him to leave the corporate environment as an employee, and build his own business (one not focused on slime basketball I can only imagine)
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Bobby Gill.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics such as:
We all define our own path in life, you just need to go out and get whatever you want!
How plans can actually be the thing that stops you doing anything, due to the concept of what you want to achieve being too large to commence work!
How he takes his phone into the bathroom with him at all times, just to give himself something to do!! (That one needs two exclamation marks)
How Weetabix is the greatest food substance on earth!
How many dwarves he would be able to fight off before they over take him in a death match!
How To Connect With Bobby Gill
Every other episode to enjoy and consume can be found at Join Up Dots Podcast Archives
Audio Transcription Of Bobby Gill Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Good morning, everybody. How are we I hope we’re all alive is Episode 58 is the 25th of June and 2014. And until about 10 minutes ago, I was being bombarded by lightning and thunder and flashing and, and like a Messiah, my guest, who’s now waiting on the other end of the call, started speaking and everything come down. So I think I think we’re in a in a beautiful position now. So let’s introduce him. He is a man who since 2001, has had a fascination with coding and technology. starting work as a QA engineer for a company, which equals readily admits that I can’t find the right words that could do any justice to my time here, five to 10 lines of blank text should be more than suffice. He moves steadily through a series of positions that build these days with programming. And more than a bit of messing around one company paid him whilst he joined a gang of eager programmers and developers to work on a slime basketball game. Okay. They didn’t know they were paying him to do this, but more for them, they should have managed a little bit closer, I think. But when Microsoft took a chance on him, when things started getting serious, this was the moment when he realised that a time of playing was coming to an end with forward a few years. And he’s now the founder of Blue Label labs, a New York based mobile design and development lab for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. So how has he done this? How did he take a leap of faith that allowed him to leave the corporate environment as an employee and build his own business? One not focused on slime basketball, I can only imagine. Well, let’s find out as we invite onto the show to start joining up the dots of his life, the one and only Bobby Gail, how are you today? Bobby?
Bobby Gill [2:06]
I’m good. Thank you for having me.
David Ralph [2:07]
It’s nice to have a New Yorker, because I’ve been sort of moaning a lot about so I’m doing interviews with people in California, when I’m doing so like two o’clock in the morning. So it is quite a good time zone, New York, it’s only five hours behind us. So what have you filled your day up in anticipation for this interview?
Bobby Gill [2:28]
Well, actually, you know, I’ve been trying to get over get a bunch of work done before this interview. So working with my engineers to clear out a lot of bugs that we’ve been working on for some of our client projects. So that’s typically my morning. And so that’s what it was today.
David Ralph [2:43]
So he’s not slime basketball.
Bobby Gill [2:45]
No, unfortunately, not. You know, that was that was a fun project to work on way back and was three I still remember, you know, the fun we had in that team room, you know, building this thing right under the company’s noses. But you know, I guess you do have to grow up
David Ralph [2:59]
so well is slime basketball is not basketball, this is going to be the most stupid question. And you’re going to go Yes, that’s exactly what it is. You’re playing basketball with slime.
Bobby Gill [3:10]
What to slimy, it’s a it’s not a very sophisticated game. It’s a it’s like a, it was an online, like flash game. And you basically have two players on the keyboard, and you’re controlling these little Slammers, which are just these, you know, have these balls with a face and a smiley face, and they’re bouncing a ball over a net and into a net between each other. Just, you know, it’s a, it’s probably Pong plus 15 years. So it’s not, it wasn’t breaking down any innovation barriers, but you know, we, I used to play that a lot in undergrad and I remember, hey, this would be pretty cool to, to build on.net. And it would be like a good learning experience. So it kind of, you know, I saw and I’m like, Okay, let’s see if you know, we can build this thing. And you know, it’s sent me down a path of figuring out a whole bunch of things to get it to work and be internet enabled, or whatnot, it was a definitely, I definitely had the light bulb go off in my head that you know what I actually really do like programming. And you know, this is a lot of fun.
David Ralph [4:06]
I love poem. I haven’t heard that word for ages and ages and ages. And I’ve kind of stopped playing computer games. I’m 44 years old now. So I suppose I should have stopped playing them. But I remember, you know, Pong, you could just pick it up and play Space Invaders, you could just pick it up Pac Man, all those kind of games. Now my son plays, and you need to know the ins and outs of the person’s character and a personality and you have to read a 400 page manual to be able to play these games that he plays. Where has the fun gone, Bobby? Where Where has Pong gone? Would it ever come back?
Bobby Gill [4:42]
I don’t know. I hope it does. I think actually, you know, you look at a lot of the games that have been really big on mobile. You look at Candy Crush, and even Angry Birds, it’s kind of gone back to the simplistic, you know, very easy, you can just play with your son. So I think, you know, I agree with you. There’s a lot of games for like the Xbox. And that where I’m just like, wow, I don’t know what here. But you know, I do think there is hope that you know, a lot of casual basic gaming is becoming a lot more, you know, fashionable and popular in mainstream culture. So, you know, maybe we will maybe its own were only a year away from, you know, mobile Pong to come out and you know, break all the records and become the next app store. top seller. What about
Join Up? Dots? Baby, I think so I like the sound of that join up palm
David Ralph [5:25]
join upon, I’m going to trademark that instantly. And so that I can make a share. I’m going to share, I’m gonna throw some shackles your way I really will. You’ll you’ll be all right. I’ll look after you in your old age. Why is the fascination you know, I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t got a mobile phone. And I look at people who my daughter, and hopefully she doesn’t listen to this. But she’s 22. And she walks out the bathroom with a phone, she walks out of her bedroom. And she’s just like looking down at her phone all the time. And I can understand, you know, certain degree of connectivity. But why is for example, the Prime Minister of our country obsessed with Angry Birds and doing those kind of things. I don’t really get it.
Bobby Gill [6:10]
Well, it’s troubling that, you know, the Prime Minister of your country is obsessed with Angry Birds, because you think you could have better things to be reading on his iPhone. Yeah. or whatever it is. Yeah, it’s, uh, well, I, I’m, I like I’m a quintessential example, I walk around with my phone in my hand, you know, coming out of the bathroom, in the bathroom, going to the bathroom. And, you know, for me, it’s, you know, it’s constant, you know, information is being plugged in, and it’s not so much, you know, talking to people and staying connected. But, you know, it’s, it’s that little thing that keeps me entertained and keeps me you know, interested in something that isn’t, you know, staring at the back of the door? I guess, you know, that’s the benefits of our generation is that, you know, we have these devices to entertain us. We don’t have to, you know, rely on speaking to people and other and other things to keep ourselves
David Ralph [6:54]
entertained. But I’m not gonna like labour the point here, because people might be having their breakfast. When you’re in the bathroom, Bobby, aren’t you already entertained? You? You’ve got things to do. You don’t have to be doing stuff like that. Well,
Bobby Gill [7:10]
in a way, you know, you are but I guess you know, sometimes you want to, you know, have auxiliary entertainment in between the peaks and troughs.
David Ralph [7:19]
Good Enough said it better the peaks and the troughs. I’m lost it was there Suddenly, I don’t know where to take the conversation. Right? Okay, let’s pull back on that one. Okay, so let’s go right back in time, because I am interested, when you was at school before you actually sort of moved into being a QA engineer, and the kind of technological world that you have encountered being an adult, were you always interested in computers where your dots lined up from such an early age.
Bobby Gill [7:51]
I’ve always been interested in computers, like I got my first computer like a Commodore 64 when I was like in grade six in grade seven. And so I didn’t always been tinkering with computers. But it wasn’t really into programming, like programming. Like my, my cousin. He’s an old, he was a 15 years older than me. And he was a software engineer. And I remember in grade eight, eighth grade, he, he like, showed me how to make like a very basic programme on my Commodore 64. But it was really tough. And I was really dejected, me Actually, from doing it. So for a good, you know, five, six years, like through high school, and early university, I didn’t touch programming, like I still tinkered with the computers, I used them every day and, and did a whole bunch of things, but I wasn’t, I was kind of afraid of the whole programming thing. And that only really started to change when I when I when I got into university, and like part of the Jobs I was taking in our course load where I was introduced again to it. And that’s where it kind of started clicking. And you know, it didn’t seem so hard at that point. Whereas before, it was very intimidating.
David Ralph [8:49]
What Why do you think it was? Why were you scared of it at such an early age, because you you, you know, I’ve been stalking you for the last couple of days, and looking at your LinkedIn profile, and your websites and all that stuff, sort of get a flavour of you. It just seems like you were made the doing what you’re doing now. So why do you think that the little Bobby didn’t feel bad?
Bobby Gill [9:09]
Yeah, I think because it’s, it’s, it’s very dejected, like learning how to programme especially when you’re on your own. It’s just it’s you run after one wall after another says like, as a kitten, like high school or elementary school, like, I guess I just didn’t have the perseverance to get through. And I didn’t see what the point was, for me to sit there and do this, when you know, every everything I would do would be belaboured by hours, you know, having it not work until for some reason it would work that I didn’t understand. So it was very, like, it was very random, it was very hard. And I wasn’t making very good progress. So as a kid, you know, I would just go play outside or you know, go do something else. It’s it really started change. You know, what, I had a couple of good professors, where they explained some concepts, and you know, they were able to kind of boil it down to a few basics. And then you know, the blocks started coming together in university in terms of understanding how to actually write software and what software is and you know, the whole whole nine yards.
David Ralph [10:07]
Easy, easy in nowadays.
Unknown Speaker [10:10]
Yeah, well, you mean for like somebody who’s younger learn or Oh, and anyone
David Ralph [10:13]
I can, I can imagine if you went back into the sort of them, the Bill Gates, early days, when and the Steve Jobs when they were messing around with computers, you know, in a garbage and stuff, it must have been just the fact that a computer you know, before those days would take up a whole room. And now you’re doing it on tiny little software, has the actual programming and the development become easier? Do people kind of build blocks of coding that you can just Nick and put into something else to work?
Bobby Gill [10:41]
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Like programming today, like, as if I, you know, young Bobby was here today, you know, it’d be a lot easier to pick up because of the internet, it’s, you know, any problem you have, when you’re writing code or any problem, you’re stuck and just type it in to Google, and there’s probably an answer out there and Stack Overflow or other sites for you to kind of build upon. And open source software, you know, through GitHub, and through a whole whole other things make, you know, building pluggable software a lot easier. So you end up not having to write so much on your own. And you also have a very easy way to get help from other people. And like, there’s the collective knowledge, it’s online now, when it comes to building software is it’s it’s massive. And so, you know, I don’t think now, you know, I am teaching like my young nephews to start the programme, they’re like, they’re like seven or eight years old. And I think I look at them and they’re like, they make their progress is so much quicker, because they have all these tools that they can just easily go ask the question and get it answered. And then the actual way they programme or they teach a kid to programme is like, in a way that’s accessible to a kid, it’s very, like a game, it’s got all sorts of, you know, kitten type of behaviours. Whereas before, you know, you were just tinkering with this, and this toolbox that you really didn’t know how it worked. And you’re kind of on your own different out?
David Ralph [12:02]
Do they learn easier or not as in depth? You know, if you take the kind of the real movers and shakers in the mobile app world at the moment, do they notice subject in such depth, but they’re always going to be able to breathe past the sort of younger people, but just kind of can learn it, as you say, by playing?
Bobby Gill [12:21]
No, I don’t think so actually, like in terms of like, knowing what be having very good technical knowledge or like being the, you know, the be all end all master of the technology, I don’t think that’s, you know, super important. And I actually really come to believe that because I remember going through my university class, I was never at the top of the class. You know, I was I was always right there at the writing that curve. But at the end of the day, it’s not so much, you know, how how good you are as a programmer, you know, how technically adept you are, it’s, you know, how are you good at designing product, can you actually build something that people want, and get it into their hands. And so, you know, I don’t know, the skill levels of like the top developers, the people who make the most money, but I’d hazard to guess they’re probably just better overall, you know, entrepreneurs in terms of understanding product and what people want, rather than being, you know, great programmers. And so I look at my nephew’s I’m like, you know, just learn the basics, you don’t even have to become like a real programme or just know how, you know, things work. And you know, you can start putting things together and actually get yourself pretty far.
David Ralph [13:25]
Because that is the beauty of the internet. That’s, that’s what we we talk about on a daily basis, really, where so many of the guests who put their hands up and say, I couldn’t do what I’m doing now, 20 years ago, you know, if I went into business, it would have been brick and mortar. But now with the online world, as you say, you only have to type in how to and you can go to YouTube and see a video or some kind of information will come up. And you can you can shoot yourself quite quickly and cheaply to get a head start on people as long as you put the effort in. Yep, absolutely. That was quite a profound statement and a very short answer, Bobby, I was expecting more from you there.
Bobby Gill [14:05]
Be it’s truly I’ve learned so much in so many life skills from YouTube. And, you know, it’s almost unfair. The I appreciate it, I appreciate the benefits of the internet, I guess, because I, I guess I’m part of the generation that lived a bit before the internet and live, you know, after and, you know, I remember doing going to things going to the library researching through encyclopaedias, or looking through micro films to do research. And then you know, 15 years later, you’re just like, wow, it’s just so changed. It’s It’s so different information is at your fingertips, that it’s a completely different world. And so like our company, in terms of like, it wouldn’t definitely wouldn’t existed, you know, even 10 years ago. And if you look at our like, the way the company is structured, it’s it’s very virtual, and we are we all sit in different time zones, we communicate over Skype, you know, I rarely go to the office, it’s very much a different world than we were living in. You know, even 10 1520 years ago,
David Ralph [14:59]
when my my kids come home from school, and I say to them, you got in any homework, and I go, Oh, yeah, we’ve got to do this, we got to do that. I say to him, it’s just Google it, all you got to do is go on the computer and Google it, I used to have to get on the bike, I used to have to write down to the library, I used to have to look up the information, you know, it was a big effort to do my work. And now they just cut and paste in my wacky and on there. I want people to go back in time and a bit of hardship. I don’t want to go down to the mines and all that kind of stuff. But I want the kids of today to realise that it wasn’t easy.
Bobby Gill [15:34]
Yeah, I want them to know the Dewey Decimal System. And like have to deal with that and like card catalogue, all those things that used to make getting doing research, just not much of an effort. And yeah, the right now but when I’m with my nephews, I make sure they don’t go to Google to do their homework. Because Yeah, that’s just that’s just looking at the back of the book for the answer. How to do that, though. How
David Ralph [15:55]
do you teach him in computing without going to Google?
Bobby Gill [15:58]
Well, what is your programme? Yeah, definitely let them go to Google. But when they’re doing their homework, and when they’re doing stuff from school, very kind of strict to to not use Wikipedia or Google to kind of augment what they do. So you know, we haven’t we have an encyclopaedia set at home. Really, I’m like, you know, go nuts,
David Ralph [16:14]
find the answer in there. You must be the most hated uncle in the world. I’m supposed to sort of teach them to swear and mess around and stuff not get to do that homework.
Bobby Gill [16:25]
I know, well, I only come around every once a while. So I gotta, I gotta I gotta head a number of different targets one way in these trips. So you know, when it’s when it comes to academics, I try to I try to be a little bit more strict. And when it comes to you know, playtime.
David Ralph [16:37]
You you’ve got a lot to to learn that they will turn on you a little bit later in life. I promise you.
Bobby Gill [16:43]
David Ralph [16:44]
they don’t already turning on you. Are they?
Bobby Gill [16:46]
Yeah, they’re getting there. I’m getting a little sass now.
David Ralph [16:49]
So how old are you, Bobby? Because you’ve got a face. I’m looking at my face here, which is kind of, it’s timeless? I’m I’m 31. You’re 30 one years old. So when you were working for Microsoft? Was that sort of around about the sort of the the sort of early 2000s? Or what kind of years were that?
Bobby Gill [17:11]
That was 2005 to 2009. So I was 22. When I started there, I left my mid 20s.
David Ralph [17:18]
So that was your big opportunity. As I said in the introduction, that was when things started getting serious.
Bobby Gill [17:23]
Right? Yeah, that was a, that was a huge opportunity for me. You know, I was recruited out of school, I moved out to Seattle, and I worked there for four years, it was a great experience. But you know, after you know, four years, in a big company, it was a good job, but I wasn’t, you know, wasn’t like a perfect fit. And I was feeling very discontent, you know, with what I was doing and where my direction was. And so it was the greatest opportunity I had, and I’m very thankful for it. But it was also the opportunity made me realise, hey, I gotta go find what I gotta go find something else that you don’t kind of makes me happier on a day to day basis.
David Ralph [17:58]
So at Microsoft, you found as I call it, your big dot, and it was a time when you, you hit your join up the dots. But that was your path. And from that moment on, you realised that an entrepreneurial world was for you?
Bobby Gill [18:12]
Well, it wasn’t even that entrepreneurial. I knew. Like, when I went into Microsoft, I thought this was it. Because I was 22. I’m like, yeah, I’m set, like, I’m just gonna do this, and you know, everything’s going to work out. And you know, a year or two into it, you’re, you know, you’re just like, wow, that you’re slowly disillusioned, you know, I’m still enjoying my job or whatnot. But by the time 2008 2009 came around, I was I was at the point where I was like, I don’t know, if I want to be in technology anymore. I don’t know if I want to be, you know, dealing with software and all these all the things that come with it on a day to day basis. And so, business school started looking very interesting to me, because I was like, Hey, you know, there’s all these other jobs out there, maybe I should go to finance or consulting or whatnot. But you know, I gotta find something else. And, you know, by 2008 2009, that’s where, you know, Business School, the idea of going to business school starting to coming in. That was my next, you know, that was the next thought, for me, at that point, the entrepreneurship had always been in kind of the back of my mind, but I never, that never really popped into my head until I got into business school. And I realised, you know, that the other career paths I was looking at work as interesting to me is either, so entrepreneurship became, you know, kind of the path forward.
David Ralph [19:23]
So was it just the size of the company, that that kind of made you fall out of love slightly with this off technological side?
Bobby Gill [19:32]
Well, not so much the size of the company, it’s, it’s more just, you know, working in an organisation, it’s, you know, you can’t set your own path, you’re not free to go experiment and do the things that you want to, you know, I was assigned to a certain product, I dealt with a certain set of features and certain technologies, like, you’re pretty restricted by by your job in terms of the things you can do. And I, you know, I always wanted to experiment, I wanted to build things I wanted to, you know, figure out what mobile was about and beyond the cusp of whatever new was in so at like a company at the large tech firms, it’s harder to be able to get those experiences because you know, you’re kind of you’re expected to deliver within, you know, whatever product you’re working on.
David Ralph [20:11]
So really, I suppose the bobby that was messing around with the slide basketball, was your unique Bobby, that was the person who was creating something and something that you enjoyed, and you thought was fun. And there was a playful element to it.
Bobby Gill [20:28]
Absolutely. Yeah, it was very much Yeah, because you were setting your own path. And you know, it was fun, because it was you’re creating something on your own. And, you know, the fun wasn’t nearly like at Microsoft. Yeah, that was fun when you started but near after four years of working on the same product, the fun, you know, hadn’t gotten milk out of it. I was I was very disillusioned of top point,
David Ralph [20:46]
which is when so many of our listeners are at the moment when when they listen to these conversations. And they see people like yourself being interviewed, because you have effectively taken that leap of faith. It wasn’t something that just come next God to you, it was a step by step, there were dots to follow ones in there all the way through. So when you left Microsoft, I understand that you went on a gap year or you went travelling,
Bobby Gill [21:12]
I went to business school for two years. So I know business school was pretty much a lot of travelling, a lot of hanging out and having fun. But that was actually the great escape from me from the corporate world and the salary because it’s very hard, it’s very difficult to like walk away from like a well paying job to go start something on your own. Because you know, the uncertainty and business school was the the next dawn for me, and they gave me the it gave me the comfort to say, Okay, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go to business school and figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. And so I pretty much had two years to kind of think about, you know, what I liked what I wanted to do, you know, experiment with other industries, and see what they’re like. So that by the time I came out of business school, I had a much more, I had a better ending who I was, and the things that I wanted to do. And, you know, I kind of came back home to my roots, where, you know, I went to business school thinking, you know, I’m kind of done with tech, I’m not going to be doing technology going forward. But at the end of it, I was like, you know, what I really liked, like, tech is my thing. You know, I’m really good at it, I really enjoy it. You know, I want to I want to build a business and technology and actually kind of, you know, returned to my roots and embrace it.
David Ralph [22:23]
Did you remember that moment when you you were sitting wherever you were, you might have been standing, you might have been laying? Who knows? And you suddenly fall? Oh, my God, I think the thing that I felt that I didn’t want to do anymore is actually my thing. Because there must have been a part in your mind that you fought, have I wasted a couple of years, or should I have continued on that path I was but that there’s a clarity that appears in all of our lives. And most of the time it is about what we were already doing previously.
Bobby Gill [22:51]
Yeah, I remember I remember exactly like the the the moments where these these epiphanies happened to me, in the second year of business school, probably around February where, you know, everybody started look for jobs, and you’re realising Wait, you know, I gotta go apply to these jobs. And, and, you know, the vacations over and I was going, I was looking at these jobs, I’m like, I was reading descriptions, I’m like that, that sounds terrible. Like these jobs, I was like, this sounds a lot worse than what I was doing before. And it was just, I had grown to the point where you know, it, no matter what job description was put in front of me, you know, I was much more I knew more about myself to kind of see, you know, what it was that the Job did and how it would or would not kind of mesh with my personality. And, you know, I was in class in February, and, you know, starting to get stressed out, because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was passing, I was not doing any recruiting. And it It started really just becoming clear to me that, you know, I had to find my own path. And that, you know, I was, I was 28. At the time, I’m like, you know, I’m coming out of business school, this is the probably the last time I’m going to start with a kind of a clean slate in terms of not having to give up like a salary or, you know, walk away from like, a lot of money or opportunities to go start a business that went from where I sat, it was like, you know, I’m 28 I have, I’m coming out, I’m not making money now. I’m in school, and what better time is there right now for me to go figure out, at least try to start my own company, and to kind of build something on my own. Because I knew that if I if I didn’t do it now, at that point, like, it’s not going to get any easier than five, six years from then, you know, it’s not going to be a better time for me to go start a company. You know, it was it was very clear, it became very clear to me that, you know, I know, I don’t know what the path forward is, at that point, I didn’t know what my password was. And I really, you know, I still don’t in, in some, in some manner. But you know, I just started to believe that, you know, I had to go do this, I had to go try and see where it went, because at least then afterwards, you know, I’d probably be more accepting of going to a traditional job, or, you know, going back into the workforce. But yeah, you know, coming out of business school, that that was the mindset I had and died, and I didn’t have much of a direction or plan, it was more of, you know, let’s take it one day at a time and see where it goes.
David Ralph [25:05]
And it is, is that step by step, you had faith in yourself, you had a trust, but you had the skills to be able to achieve, but ultimately, you had to take action and go out and do it.
Bobby Gill [25:15]
Great. Yeah. And it’s still the same day, like we, you know, I have a co founder who helped, you know, he started the company with me after I came into business school. And he, he worked at Microsoft before, and he left Microsoft and his salary to join, you know, our nascent company. And so he took that leap with the same thing in mind where, you know, I told him, I don’t know how we’re going to make money I have, I have the rough framework of what we can do. But you know, this might not work. But you know, I faced that, you know, we’ll put it we’ll figure it out. We’re smart guys. You know, I don’t know what the plan is, or whatnot. But, you know, when push comes to shove, things will happen and will make things happen. And so that’s kind of the only way to really approach it. Because otherwise you just be killed by the worries, there’s so many worries. And there’s so many things you could sit there and agonising about. And it forces you to kind of go to, to ignore a lot of the superfluous things that you worry about. You focus on, like the key things with which at that point in time for us was like, Okay, let’s keep the roof of our heads, you know, let’s pay our rent every month. That’s like the basic goal. Let’s try to get to that and start building from that. And so you know, you do you do have to have a lot of trust in yourself. And you have to learn not to not to be plagued by the worries and not just think too much about the worries, but rather, you know, just have faith.
David Ralph [26:31]
Yeah. And do what Michael said that you’ve gotta have faith.
Bobby Gill [26:34]
Yeah, it was very, very pointed point by George, Michael.
David Ralph [26:39]
I know, I think we should all have more George Michael, in our life. I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s true, really. But we should have more Steve Jobs in our life. And this is a speech, which I think really summarises what you just been saying. So I’m going to play it. And then as I normally do, I’m going to ask how relevant you feel these words are to your path. And your path going forward. This is Steve Jobs.
Unknown Speaker [27:01]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, your gut destiny, life, karma, whatever, because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference. Do you need to believe that the dots are going to join up? Or is it something more than that.
Bobby Gill [27:41]
So I absolutely love this a very, very good quote. Because it really sums up the way I kind of approach it is that, you know, you have to believe in yourself and your abilities, and that, you know, things are going to work out. At the point where I was I was 28. So looking back at all the things I achieved, and you know, the places I had gone, I was like, okay, you know, I i’m able, I’m able to do things, you know, I’ve had some success in the past, I should trust in myself, you know that, I’m going to figure this thing out. And so it was very, it still is every day, you know, I don’t know what we’re going to be doing in a year, I don’t know, you know, what our five year plan is, or the steps we’re going to take, it’s just I continue that faith and you know, myself, my co founder things we do. And that, you know, things are going to continue working out. Because you know, we’re dedicated to it, this is what we love to do, we enjoy what we do. And you know, we have a lot of perseverance and you know, we have, we have a lot of fun doing what we do. But again, you know, there’s very little in the way of a plan. And I don’t and Steve Jobs is great about this particular aspect, which is you know, don’t sit there and you know, plan out the next five years of you know, all the things you need to do to get to where you want because you know, the minute you start walking down that path is, you know, the minute that plan is irrelevant. And you know, you don’t obsess about it, you know, want to really think about it, I just want to go do it. You know, you know, if you’re going to go started, you’re going to go start a company don’t don’t sit there talking about it, figuring out all the things that you gotta get, you know, cleared up and covered up before you do it, you know, you should just go do it. Just go take the plunge. You know, and trust yourself that you’re learning to swim.
David Ralph [29:17]
And if you can’t swim, get somebody to hold on to you.
Bobby Gill [29:21]
Exactly, and we still learn and you would have learned you’re definitely probably will learn to swim. But you would have learned a tonne out of the whole experience just in terms of you know, what you’re what you can do what you like that, you know, even if it doesn’t work out, I think as a as a person, as you know, from an experience standpoint, you’re in measurably better than just kind of stagnating, we’re staying in the same place
David Ralph [29:43]
is amazing. You say all those words, and they have huge relevance to me. Because I was in a career that I was stagnating, I was just going in and earning a salary and coming home. And I got to the point I was 44 years old when I did this, and I’ve got families have a mortgage. I’ve got you know, all kinds responsibilities that you would rationally say, No, I can’t do this. It’s too much of a risk. And even now that the podcast is going great guns, I still wake up every morning thinking, oh my god, what do I have to do? How am I going to make it go bigger? How am I going to self automate it, so I don’t have to be here all the time. And I don’t have a plan at all. Now, I kind of felt like I should have had a plan at the beginning. But I was also too scared to have a plan because Ben, it seemed too big. I could I could do the first step. And I could do the second step. But once I started thinking about what I wanted to achieve, over the first year, second year, five years, it was too much for my brain to cope with. So I just didn’t I just kind of made a plunge and hopefully Fingers crossed, my wife will support me and where we’re going on with it.
Bobby Gill [30:51]
Yeah, it’s a that’s exactly kind of the way I thought about it too, is that if you can make these plans, but those plans will haunt you, if you and who and who’s to say the plan you make is even relevant, like where it’s just something you’re written down, like, and from our perspective, you know, of it being a plan. When you go and start doing things, you start learning things, you’ll be in a better position to make good decisions, you know, based off of what you’ve learned and what you’ve experienced. And so, you know, I’m not I’m not much of a planner, to my detriment, and I guess to to my benefit.
David Ralph [31:23]
Are you a hustler? Bo, do you have huge flexing, hustle muscles?
Bobby Gill [31:28]
hustling? what’s what’s that hustle?
David Ralph [31:30]
You get out there? And? You? Yeah.
Bobby Gill [31:33]
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, that’s, that’s what it’s all about is, you know, you had it from the gecko. When we started the company, it was like, we gotta pay our rent. So let’s do everything will take on any job, I’ll go do anything we need to, to bring some revenue in. So that we can do that. And so you know, at the start, when we started the company, we were doing a lot of things that weren’t mobile related, you know, that weren’t actually what we wanted to do. But hey, it was a job and it paid, and we did an event, they will still do things because you know, you have to keep the lights on, it’s on us to move the ball up the hill. So yeah, you gotta hustle. And I think that’s the, that’s the key, you gotta gotta be it, you got to be ready to do what you need to do to make it succeed.
David Ralph [32:14]
Because it was never a hustler. I really wasn’t. I was a floater. And I used to say, but I was the luckiest person alive, I would just go like a twig on the mighty stream of life. And things would float in front of me, and I’d reach out and grab them. And they were just opportunities. And things were always went my way. This was the first time that I’ve actually had to hustle. Because if I don’t, I’m not earning any income, there was no safety net. And it’s funny, I kind of think I’m quite good at hustling. But it’s taken me 44 years to realise I It’s not scary. The we had the technology in front of us to hustle across the globe, which still, you know, the fact I and I say this, so many times is a daily show, but hey, it’s my show. So I can repeat my people want. But I find it amazing. There we go being and we press a button, and I’m having a conversation with somebody in New York, or I was speaking to a lady this morning who was in Viet Nam. And it doesn’t cost me anything other than sort of broadband connexion. And you know, and a computer, it that is so powerful. And every single person has got that not every person, but the majority of people have got that in front of them, they lift up their laptop, they turn on their computer, and they could literally change the world is staggering.
Bobby Gill [33:32]
It is Yeah, that’s the benefit of digital technology has brought us is that we’re in a whole different place. Now.
David Ralph [33:39]
Talking about the place that you’re in, at the moment, Blue Label apps, you create apps that other people have had the idea. So if one of our listeners is out there and things, I’ve got this brilliant idea for an app, I haven’t seen it anywhere by come to you. And even if they don’t have any idea about how to do the coding and the design and all that kind of stuff, you can take it to fruition.
Bobby Gill [34:04]
Absolutely. And so we we work with a we have a bunch of clients, a lot of startup clients who come to us they have an idea, they have no concept of what they want to do, but they need kind of help taking it from idea and bringing it to the app stores. So you know, we have a team of designers who, who work with the clients to figure out the look and feel of these apps. And we know what should what should the features be? How should it look what colour schemes and then, you know, we have our engineering team, which then takes that and kind of puts it together and, you know, heads it to the client saying here, here’s your app. On the other hand, you know, we also we also develop our own apps and our own products. And so, you know, we do a mix of both where, you know, we’ll build a lot of client stuff. But we also take the time to build and develop our own apps and our own products that we can, you know, market and monetize. Because you must be in
David Ralph [34:49]
the prime position. When you’re getting all these ideas from people, and you build them to their spec, and they’re very happy and away they go. But you must be sitting there thinking that was a good idea. And with that other good idea that somebody else has given me, we could put the two together and bang global domination. Yeah,
Bobby Gill [35:10]
I wish the what I’ve learned from the business the years is that it’s less, it’s it’s less about the actual idea. And you know, if it’s actually unique, or really, you know, really cool idea. It’s more it’s more about the the execution in terms of, you know, marketing the product, getting people to use it, and, you know, make purchases or do what because that’s that’s the much harder thing. There’s, we work out, like all the apps we built up and great ideas, we worked on a lot of great ideas for our clients that, you know, didn’t go anywhere. Then we worked on some things, which were kind of, you know, playing we’re like, well, what is that that’s like the fourth app that does that. But you know, the client has got the, you know, the hustling gene, he knows the market he went after and he’s able to make something out of it. So in terms of you know, we work with a we have all these ideas that come in, at the end of the day, you know, it’s it’s, it’s a lot to do you know how well we were able to actually build a product that people want to use, and not and not going to get it in people’s hands, which is a very, it’s a much tougher equation. You know, I wish I wish I had the answer to that.
David Ralph [36:11]
There are certain apps you know, I mentioned this earlier, I don’t have a mobile phone and to the day I die, I really hope but I don’t have a mobile phone. I like to go to the toilet and just focus on what I’m doing. And okay. And I think that’s that’s a mobile for you, Bobby, I think you need to think of hygiene as well, okay, because you’re carrying that phone around. But people do these kind of happy things in front of me. And I remember driving in a car and I just happened to look up out the window and it was an aeroplane going across. And I said oh, I wonder where the aeroplanes going. And my make a piece of bone and went Oh, it’s going to Russia and its landing. That is kind of so amazing. But absolutely point this as well.
Bobby Gill [36:57]
Yeah, yeah, it’s Well, hey, I love playing. So that’s a really good, cool app. I know what he’s talking about. Well, the you’d be surprised what people will pay for, you know, remember into I don’t know if you heard into, like one of the first big apps to make it on the app store in like 2008 was called I fart. And it just made fart noises and people paid 99 cents for that. And they were the top of the App Store. And you’re like, This is crazy. Why Why? But why is crazy because
David Ralph [37:21]
I could understand that if you left your phone somewhere, like a kind of mobile whoopee cushion. But that’s only going to make that farting noise when it’s closest to you. So everyone’s going to think it’s you surely?
Bobby Gill [37:34]
Well, I don’t know. I don’t really use the app. So I think I think it’s like ondemand farting where it’s not so much like proximity, but you press the button and maxes out
David Ralph [37:41]
on the demo and farting that that that is a market and a subject I didn’t think we were going to go into that
Bobby Gill [37:48]
will explore that in further depth if you want but I don’t think your listeners would want
David Ralph [37:52]
to know not not as they’re putting Weetabix into their mouth in their desk. When I know I’ve witnessed the breakfast my language has gone out the window. I wrote this down. You tweet a lot about Weetabix.
Bobby Gill [38:06]
it’s you know it’s a secret it’s one of my See I grew up in Canada and you know my parents they always used to feed me Weetabix with like hot milk even today every morning I start off with that and you know it’s some amazing stuff because you know it powers me through the day and you know it’s it’s healthy keeps your regular how many are just wanting just one biscuit well just one yeah. Yeah, just one that’s you know, I put some haha I don’t like I’m not sitting there trying to fill up for the
David Ralph [38:30]
world and you’re like a small baby you need I have for
Unknown Speaker [38:35]
you for biscuits.
David Ralph [38:36]
I have four Weetabix in my bow. Not every morning and I don’t have them with hotmail but is like, you know, babies eat risks. I do you starting the day on equivalent other babies who asked hot milk and one that’s that’s not enough a big man.
Bobby Gill [38:54]
I guess not. But you know, my eating habits have never been great. I’ve always been, you know, stuck in front of the computer. But yeah, you know, I look, you know, the day begins with Weetabix. And that sets the tone for the whole day. And you know, generally most days get off to a good start because of the Weetabix. And so I’m a big fan.
David Ralph [39:09]
I’m a big fan as well. And do you mash them up? Or do you let them remain in their shape?
Bobby Gill [39:14]
Oh, no, I like that. I like it to get mashed up, you know, because the hot milk does that. And so you know, it’s like an oatmeal ask type of thing, but it’s way better than oatmeal. This is the greatest
David Ralph [39:21]
conversation I’ve ever had. Who cares about
Bobby Gill [39:25]
people that us don’t know about Weetabix? It’s a very Commonwealth type of thing. And so, you know, I like opening people’s eyes
David Ralph [39:30]
did did in in sort of the US and stuff. I don’t have Weetabix.
Bobby Gill [39:34]
They do but it’s not like if I ever like I have to go to a special grocery store to get it and like if I say you know, what’s your favourite cereal? Nobody will ever say greenbacks and when you know, but when Weetabix comes into the conversation, people are very puzzled
David Ralph [39:46]
and a penny doesn’t often really does it. Yeah.
Bobby Gill [39:48]
I like to insert it every once in a while, you know, keep people on their toes talking about things that they might not know.
David Ralph [39:53]
I think if you insert a Weetabix, it will keep people on their toes.
Bobby Gill [39:57]
Yeah, look at what is this Weetabix?
David Ralph [40:01]
I went on holiday ones. I’m going to bore all the listeners with this storey because this is my way to big storey. And I went I went to Spain with my wife and my family. And when we got out there, the exchange rate was stupid. It was like eight pounds for a sandwich. And the first bar I went into I went, I can’t pay you this. This is ridiculous. Is it the highway robbery? And my wife was saying you want holiday just pay for it? And I was like, No, I’m not. And we had this kind of this kind of argument where words weren’t spoken. But she knew I was going to do my thing, and she wasn’t going to be happy with it. And so I bought a box of Weetabix. 48 Weetabix, and I had it three times a day and I go back to my place. And I’d have me four in the morning. And then I might have a light lunch with just two. And then in the evening, I might have free again. And I was always battling the Spanish exchange rate siloed way with my Weetabix, and we almost double started actually he felt like I was ruining the holiday for everyone. But you’ve got to make a stand. Devon Yeah,
Bobby Gill [41:06]
exactly. You gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. So you know, stand for the Weetabix. Yeah, I agree with you. That’s, that’s what you got to do.
David Ralph [41:14]
If there’s any sponsorship out there going. Over, this will sign up. And we will all come on Time Square dressed as a couple of Weetabix.
Bobby Gill [41:25]
I’ll build it out for Weetabix. And I probably won’t even charge you for it.
David Ralph [41:28]
There you go. There you go. We’re selling. We’re setting the concept. So where where are you going to go with your company, Bobby? So it’s doing very well. And I’m looking at the the website at the moment, I’m seeing the Statue of Liberty, not a statue of liberty, when we’re talking about the Empire State Building, floating around in front of me. So do you have plans? Or were you say you haven’t got the plans? Or you don’t do plans? But where you can take it? Is it? Is it already global? Is it just sort of territorial what what’s the size of the business at the moment?
Bobby Gill [42:00]
Well, we’re very, we’re global in the sense we have clients all over the world. And since you know, it’s digital, like, Why are where are we build the apps for people in Australia and Asia, what not, I think in terms of our direction, the loose framework, we kind of think about where we want to go is we want to, we want to be we want to have our own products, we want to develop in our own concepts and build, you know, apps for ourselves. And so, you know, in 510 years, you know, what I’d like to see us doing is, you know, maybe not so much of the the client service aspect, but rather, you know, having a, you know, a portfolio of apps of our own that, you know, we develop interesting ideas, we put it to market, you know, we’re able to continue experimenting. And so, you know, we we got into this whole thing to experiment with apps to build interesting things. In the long term. You know, I’d like to see us, you know, continue to build out our product portfolio and just have a, you know, a wide variety of interesting concepts that we took a chance on it and developed.
David Ralph [42:57]
The only app that’s ever come to my mind was in a conversation down in a pub once. And you remember that scene in The Matrix, when one of them Keanu Reeves or something was fighting off this person, it would come out and then another one would come out and another one, it’d be a major. Yeah. techie guys love the matrix. Totally. I don’t I don’t understand. Great.
Bobby Gill [43:18]
But, yeah, it’s a monumental film.
David Ralph [43:20]
I slept through three quarters of all three of them. Wow.
Bobby Gill [43:24]
Well, yeah, the last two are forgettable. That first one though, I remember where I was when I first watched that.
David Ralph [43:29]
And this person said to me, and this is one of the best pub discussions. If that scene was based with dwarfs, how many do you reckon he could fight off before they overcome him? Now, is that not the best conversation you can possibly have?
Bobby Gill [43:46]
It’s one of the best. It’s interesting. Quite it’s a question that needs answering that we should people should think about because you know, it changes the game when you have doors in the pie.
David Ralph [43:53]
Yeah, so if he was in Abu Dhabi, and drop suddenly started running in after you How many do you reckon you could fight off?
Bobby Gill [44:01]
I don’t know. They’re short. They’re stocky, I guess. I guess maybe well, cuz I don’t think a dwarf is any like, easier to kind of fight off in a regular man because like a regular man’s gotta hire centre of gravity as you can probably fall down easier. The doors are there lower. I think it’s, I think you’d probably just take one or two to take me out. Cuz, you know, they could get up my legs and I’m tall. So
David Ralph [44:21]
I’m gonna go with 14 1414 dwarfs before they take me down. I would not the first couple down. Really? Yeah. And then I would run very fast. Obviously.
Bobby Gill [44:35]
I would do that. That’s a great idea. I’d use my stride. Yeah,
David Ralph [44:38]
until Ben little legs wear themselves out. And then I would just stroll back and take them off.
Bobby Gill [44:43]
Yeah, that’s a brilliant idea. Actually. That’s the way that’s the way to approach a door fight.
David Ralph [44:47]
I think so. I think the Edam Weetabix afterwards just to get them back into life.
Bobby Gill [44:54]
Bring them back.
David Ralph [44:55]
Absolutely. So this is the end of the show. And it’s been a great show, because we’ve gone off on it engine that I wouldn’t believe. I think a lot of the listeners must be thinking, Episode 58, did you hear Episode 58? What were they talking about? But this is the end of the show when I get a chance to send you back in time like a young Marty McFly, to have a sermon with yourself. And if you went into a room and you you found your younger self, what age would you pick? And what kind of advice would you give them? So I’m going to play the music. And when the music fades out, I’m going to remain totally silent? Because this is you on the mic. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [45:37]
Here we go with the best beer on the show.
Bobby Gill [45:56]
Well, I’m back in 2005, I’m sitting in front of you know, the 20, the 23 year old Bobby Gill. And, you know, given almost 10 years since then, I think the biggest piece of advice that you know, coming out of college and starting a new job back then that I would that I think would have been very important for me to hear would be that, you know, nobody’s got the right answer for most questions, or most things you work on? Because and it’s because not because they’re incompetent. Or, you know, the problem is hard, but rather that there’s very few things in life that have a right answer, there’s very few things that are either black or white, everything is a shade of grey. And you know, when you’re in debates or when you’re you know, when you’re collaborating with other people, or when you’re, you know, working on a project, don’t be afraid to bring up your opinion, because you think it’s dumb, you should never think that because, you know, your opinion might sound down to you or whatever is in your head. But it’s guarantee that if you put it out there, you know, it might fall for the discussion, it might you know, be the shade of grey, that might be the right solution for the problem you’re working on. So instead of, you know worrying about do you sound stupid? Or is this the right answers is the right thing for me to say, you know, right, just say it, you know, if it’s on your mind, you think it’s you know, if you think it’s a good answer, you know, go with it, because you know who’s to say it’s not, and who’s to say that, you know, once you propose isn’t exactly what is needed for the certain situation. And so, you know, beyond that, and a few stock tips, you know, don’t don’t invest in that Ford stock in 2007, you’re in a really regret that I would hop back in my DeLorean and go back to 2014 and hope you know, everything worked out for 22 year old Bobby,
David Ralph [47:44]
it eight miles an hour. Hope you were going,
Bobby Gill [47:47]
hopefully, well, we were flying.
David Ralph [47:49]
But but he just before I sort of say goodbye to you. This is a question that I’ve asked a few of the guests. And when you took that leap of faith, and you decided that you were going to create your own business and leave your salary behind what super talent do you have that guaranteed success?
Bobby Gill [48:06]
Well, nothing guaranteed the success, I guess the the one trait, I guess, which is helped us the most is you know, perseverance and resourcefulness. where, you know, it’s, it’s a function of, you know, just sticking with it and, you know, being relentless and kind of working with the goal in mind to start the company and then also being quick on the feet to, to adapt to new situations to be able to, you know, to do the things that you need to do in order to get the business off its feet. And so I think it had much less to do with what I that my technical skills or my, my abilities with the computer, but rather more of, you know, my ability to stick with the problem for a long time and you know, to bring interesting solutions or to be flexible and adaptable.
David Ralph [48:52]
well beyond found you inspirational, motivational this afternoon, and I’m sure there’s so many people out there that would like to connect with you. What’s the best way way to connect with you and your company?
Bobby Gill [49:03]
Well, if you want to connect with me, you can either either find me on Twitter at om G, Bobby G, or you can email me at Bobby at Blue Label labs. com.
David Ralph [49:15]
It’s been an absolute delight to have you on the show all those links to your social media will be on the show notes. Thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you have more dots to join up because that’s the beauty of the show. those dots will keep them going forward to God knows when. And I believe that the only way that we can really build our futures is by looking back and connecting our pasts. Bobby, thank you so much.
Bobby Gill [49:41]
Oh, thank you.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.